To the Editor:
I was pleased to read last week’s article, “Murphy Launches State's 1st Adverse Childhood Experiences Action Plan.” Gov. Murphy’s recently released plan will be a great first step in improving the well-being of New Jersey’s kids, as well as the state’s overall public safety.
In my over two decades of law enforcement experience, I have seen firsthand the importance of investing in the lives of children. Reducing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) lets kids be kids and gives them a higher likelihood of success later in life.
As a member of the law-enforcement membership organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, I have learned that early intervention is key. Children with access to high-quality early education, voluntary home-visiting services, and good role models are more likely to avoid adverse experiences, graduate high school, and stay out of trouble.
A critical goal of the proposed plan is to “look at solutions based on community input that address root causes rather than symptoms.” This is exactly the kind of approach we need to take.
Some of the best evidence-based solutions for reducing and eradicating ACEs are early childhood interventions. Things like high-quality early childhood education can make all the difference in a child’s life, especially for children who are more at risk of ACEs.
With a saddening 40% of New Jersey kids experiencing at least one ACE, addressing this problem in a meaningful way will create a safer and healthier Garden State in the long run. I’m excited to work with other community leaders and see this plan implemented in our state.
ED. NOTE: The author, who has worked in law enforcement since 1997, is police chief of Middle Township Police Department. He is also a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.